FTC complaint targets DeVry’s job placement claims
One way to climb the career ladder is by hitting the books to get your degree. But some companies take the hype too far. That’s why the FTC has filed a complaint in federal court today against DeVry University, one of the nation's largest educational services companies, for misrepresenting the prospects of their graduates to get well-paid jobs in their fields.
According to the FTC, DeVry stretched the truth by claiming that 90% of their graduates who were actively seeking employment landed new jobs in their field of study within six months of graduation. That sounds pretty impressive but beware of some fuzzy math: the FTC alleges that DeVry’s data does not back up its claim. First, to get to 90%, the company counted graduates who had been working at their jobs for more than a year before graduating from – or even before enrolling at – DeVry. Second, it also counted graduates who, in fact, were not working in their field of study – for instance, a graduate who specialized in health services management working as a server at a restaurant. Third, it undercounted those “actively seeking employment” by considering only those graduates who were regularly using DeVry’s career services department.
DeVry also claimed that one year after graduation, the median or average earnings of DeVry graduates with bachelor degrees were 15% higher than the earnings of graduates from all other colleges and universities, as a result of attending DeVry. Despite publicly available information and internal company data to the contrary, DeVry used unreliable figures that DeVry itself had reason to doubt.
If you’re looking to head back to school, do your homework to be sure you know what you’re paying for. Check out Choosing a College: Questions to Ask.
This post was updated on January 28, 2016 to note that DeVry is one of the largest educational services companies in the nation.